Monday, May 20, 2019

Proposition 8 and Homophobic Bullying in California | Articles | Pediatrics

Proposition 8 and Homophobic Bullying in California | Articles | Pediatrics

Proposition 8 and Homophobic Bullying in California

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Bias-based bullying is associated with negative outcomes for youth, but its contextual predictors are largely unknown. Voter referenda that target lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups may be 1 contextual factor contributing to homophobic bullying.
METHODS: Data come from 14 consecutive waves (2001–2014) of cross-sectional surveys of students participating in the California Healthy Kids Survey (N = 4 977 557). Student responses were aggregated to the school level (n = 5121). Using a quasi-experimental design, we compared rates of homophobic bullying before and after Proposition 8, a voter referendum that restricted marriage to heterosexuals in November 2008.
RESULTS: Interrupted time series analyses confirmed that the academic year 2008–2009, during which Proposition 8 was passed, served as a turning point in homophobic bullying. The rate of homophobic bullying increased (blinear = 1.15; P < .001) and accelerated (bquadratic = 0.08; P < .001) in the period before Proposition 8. After Proposition 8, homophobic bullying gradually decreased (blinear = −0.28; P < .05). Specificity analyses showed that these trends were not observed among students who reported that they were bullied because of their race and/or ethnicity, religion, or gender but not because of their sexual orientation. Furthermore, the presence of a protective factor specific to school contexts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth (gay-straight alliances) was associated with a smaller increase in homophobic bullying pre–Proposition 8.
CONCLUSIONS: This research provides some of the first empirical evidence that public campaigns that promote stigma may confer risk for bias-based bullying among youth.
  • Accepted March 13, 2019.
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Proposition 8 and Homophobic Bullying in California | Articles | Pediatrics

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